El Salvador

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France and El Salvador

Bilateral relations

Political relations

Vice President Felix Ulloa visited France twice, in November 2019 and October 2021, and was received by the French authorities on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum, at the level of the Secretary-General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Diplomatic Unit at the Élysée Palace. These two visits also provided the opportunity to hold meetings with French employers and parliamentary friendship groups.

Visits

Senator Damien Regnard, who represents French nationals abroad, visited El Salvador from 22 to 26 January 2022. The French MP for French Nationals Abroad for Latin America and the Caribbean, Paula Forteza, visited San Salvador for the inauguration ceremony of President Bukele on 1 June 2019 and a delegation of the Senate’s Friendship Group for France-Mexico and Central American countries visited El Salvador from 14 to 18 April 2016.

The French President’s Personal Envoy to Latin America, Jean-Pierre Bel, represented President Macron on 16 January 2017 during the ceremonies to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signature of the Chapultepec Peace Accords. Mr Bel also visited El Salvador from 5 to 6 April 2016, where he was received by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also met with the Secretary-General of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

The French Minister for Foreign Affairs met his counterpart from El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, during his visit to France from 17 to 19 October 2016. Mr Martinez also was also head of the El Salvador delegation during the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Paris in December 2016. On 11 December 2017, he also signed in Paris with Brune Poirson, Minister of State attached to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, a bilateral agreement aimed at facilitating financing operations in El Salvador by PROPARCO, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

Economic relations

France’s trade with El Salvador is modest, but there is a surplus. In 2020, our exports to El Salvador accounted for €36 million, up 15.5%. This increase is due to the 71% jump in our exports of machines to €9.6 million including equipment (pumps and pipes) required for a renovation project by Suez of the wastewater treatment plant “Las Pavas”, which was inaugurated on 29 October 2021 with President Nayib Bukele in attendance.

With regard to our other major exports, pharmaceutical products have increased by 38% to €4.4 million (thanks to an increase of 113% in our vaccine exports, to €2.9 million), whereas various chemicals decreased by 21.2% to €4.4 million.
France’s economic presence has been enhanced through contracts won in El Salvador by French businesses, including in the field of renewable energy. The French company NEOEN opened a 240 MW photovoltaic solar energy plant in El Salvador. http://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Pays/el-salvador

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Bilateral cooperation is mainly focused on promoting the French language, cultural exchanges and university education. It is supported by a dynamic network: the Consuelo et Antoine de Saint Exupéry Lycée in San Salvador, with over 1,300 students, is the largest French language school in Central America, and its cultural and educational action extends beyond the school environment. The Alliance Française in San Salvador (the largest in Central America with 1,250 students), also trains teachers of French.

Our cooperation was recently bolstered with France and El Salvador signing a framework agreement on cultural, academic, scientific and technical cooperation on 2 June 2017, as well as an agreement on mutual recognition of diplomas on 13 March 2018. Some 230 students from El Salvador are currently in higher education in France and are the largest contingent of Central American students in France.

Other types of cooperation

In the area of development, the AFD approved the funding of two NGO projects in 2017: an agricultural cooperative project by Secours Populaire and a project to improve the housing situation for women in precarious situations led by the NGO Habitat Cité.

An intergovernmental agreement supporting the work of PROPARCO (an AFD subsidiary) in El Salvador was also signed between the Minister for Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, and the Minister of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson, on 12 December 2017 in Paris.

The French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) is contributing €1.1 million to help finance La Montañona, a project on the sustainable management of productive landscapes, focusing on conservation agriculture, agroforestry, agrosylvo-pastoral systems and forest protection. The project is being co-financed by the FFEM, the Salvadorian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the association of communes of La Montañona and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).

France allocated reconstruction funds after the Tropical Storm Amanda in 2020 for work by the NGO Fundasal. El Salvador has also benefitted from French assistance to address the pandemic, with the delivery of personal protective equipment and an oxygen kit in December 2020.

Updated: 30 August 2022